Saturday, December 23, 2006

Hindsight is 20/20

Buster Olney blogged these thoughts about World Series MVP David Eckstein recently:

"After the 2004 season, he was the top shortstop who didn't get the kind of big deals landed by Orlando Cabrera ($32 million) and Edgar Renteria ($40 million). But he continues to show that despite his unorthodox throwing motion, he can be among the most productive and reliable shortstops in the game -- and then there are the championship intangibles that he adds."

Well, Buster, it's good to see you take a clear stance. But I thought you had these things to say about the 2004 offseason:

"Jeremiah, you are right, the middle infield is good enough for them to win, and Eckstein will score more runs (than he did in Anaheim). But losing Renteria and, to a much lesser degree, losing Womack really will diminish the (Cardinals). Can't see them approaching 105 wins -- or 100 wins -- this year."

"Count me among the geeks who think Anaheim is a lock. They really improved their pitching by upgrading their defense, i think -- adding Cabrera to play shortstop..."

You might think I'm picking on Olney, but all I ask for from writers is consistency and an unbiased view, and comments on Eckstein provide neither. It's one thing to say you may have erred, and entirely another to pretend that you knew Eckstein was a star all along.

Furthermore, Eckstein is not a particularly good player. Of these three shortstops, Eckstein was the worst player in the 2004-05 offseason and had the worst season in 2006. He wasn't a top shortstop then, he isn't now, and he won't be when some team lights $20 million on fire by signing him after 2007.

As a side note, I'd really like people to stop citing intangibles as a reason why one player is better than another when the numbers don't justify this ranking. If the rest of the world can't measure intangibles--the very definition of "intangible"--what makes you think you're the only one who can?

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